Ernest Archdeacon

Ernest Archdeacon (1863 – 1950) was a prominent French lawyer of Irish descent who was associated with pioneering

Ernest Archdeacon

all forms of aviation in France before the First World War. He made his first balloon flight at the age of 20. He commissioned a copy of the 1902 Wright No. 3 glider but had only limited success.  He was regarded as France’s foremost promoter and sponsor of aviation, offering prizes (Coupe d’Aviation Ernest Archdeacon and the Deutsch de la Meurthe-Archdeacon prize), commissioning designs, developing theoretical knowledge, plus organising tests and events.

His lasting contribution to aviation is the Aéro-Club de France, the oldest aero-club in the world, which he co-founded in 1898 before powered flight.

In 1906 he commissioned a ‘propeller on a motorcycle’, the Archdeacon Aéromotocyclette Anzani which achieved a timed speed of 79.5 kilometres per hour at Achères-la-Forêt. This ‘Aéromotocyclette’, based on a ‘Buchet’ motorcycle, was equipped with a 6 horsepower Anzani engine driving a propeller mounted on a 1.5 m (5 ft) steel tube. There is no evidence that he applied for a patent.

He is also remembered as the first aeroplane passenger in Europe, having taken a 1241m flight in 1908.


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